Confronting images highlight 'silent killer' of kangaroos: 'It needs to stop'

Kangaroo rescuer Krysti Severi has responded to a countless number of rescues involving outdoor wire fences.

WARNING — GRAPHIC IMAGES: The pictures of kangaroos hanging upside down with their legs stuck in barbed wire fences are so "horrific" they take your breath away, but for volunteer rescuer Krysti Severi it's just another day on the job.

A kangaroo can be seen upside down with its two legs caught in the barbed wire of a fence.
It is 'extremely common' for wildlife rescuers to find kangaroos caught up in outdoor wire fences. Source: Supplied

Outdoor wire fences used to section off property and contain domestic animals are "silent killers" of kangaroos, claiming a countless number of lives when the animals get stuck in them, often inflicting incredibly painful injuries the animals cannot recover from.

"They get constriction where the wires are tight around their feet or toes and that starts to shut off blood supply and compress on all their nerves," Krysti from Rescue Rehabilitate Release told Yahoo News Australia. "It turns necrotic."

A kangaroo can be seen lying on the ground with its left leg stuck in a barbed wire fence with its lower leg at a 90 degree angle to its upper leg.
Last week Krysti found a kangaroo with its leg snapped in half after the animal had attempted to free itself from the wire fence. Source: Supplied

"There was one six days ago where his foot was snapped in half ... and I've [previously] found just a leg in a fence."

How many kangaroos die from outdoor wire fences?

Kangaroos getting caught in outdoor wire fences are "extremely common", however, it is unknown how many die as most incidences go undetected.

"Sadly there's so many we don't find," Krysti said, explaining the kangaroos' extensive habitat makes it impossible to quantify. "It's sheer luck when one is spotted."

Wire can be seen deeply cut into a kangaroos legs, causing deep lacerations and exposing bones and tendons.
Outdoor wire fences often cut deeply into a kangaroo's leg causing circulation to stop and subsequent nerve damage. Source: Supplied

In her experience, she estimates only one in eight "fence hanger" rescues end with the animal "pulling through" and admits most rescues are confronting.

"When we put fences up for our introduced species like sheep, cattle and horses we are essentially cutting our native species off from their home. It needs to stop."

How can kangaroos be protected?

Krysti explained that small changes can make a huge impact toward protecting these native animals in the face of outdoor wire fences.

"Roos always use the same crossings, you can see where ... it's a worn pass. Install a gate there ... they will learn how to use them," she said.

Three kangaroos can be seen at a fence while a fourth jumps over it.
Kangaroos can often misjudge their jump when attempting to cross a wire fence. Soure: Getty

Another solution is to simply remove the top or bottom rung from a fence to allow a kangaroo to either jump over or duck under fences, with any made of wire being a big "no no".

"You've got to think about it like this, that fence is shutting it off from its lounge room to its kitchen, this land is there home," she said. "We should be trying to protect these animals by putting up wildlife-friendly fencing."

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